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Fourth scientific symposium of the Association for Research in
Neuroeducation, Université de Caen!
Caen, Basse-Normandie, F...
my background
Université libre de Bruxelles: Cognitive Psychology	

Université du Luxembourg: (Applied) Educational
Scienc...
this talk
some “old” facts	

and a lot of tentative speculations
“I’ve heard you’re doing
research on 	

implicit learning…
so you can teach me how to prepare for my next
exam, without me...
Guiding Questions
• What is “implicit learning” (IL)?	

• What do we know about IL?	

• What are the differences and simil...
Defining IL
Term first coined by Reber (1967):“The process by which
knowledge about the rule-governed complexities of the st...
Does that really exist?
Evidence for IL
• Artificial grammar learning (Reber, 1967)	

• Sequence learning (Nissen & Bullemer, 1987)	

• Dynamic sys...
Evidence for IL
• Artificial grammar learning (Reber, 1967)
• asked to memorize a set of letter strings generated by a finit...
Evidence for IL
• Sequence learning
deterministic sequence
11
(Cleeremans et al., 1998)
PRACTICE!
Sequence 2!
Sequence 1!
...
• Sequence learning

probabilistic sequence
Evidence for IL
12
(Cleeremans et al., 1998)
PRACTICE!
Ungrammatical stimuli!
...
Evidence for IL
• Contextual cueing: a certain information contained in
a (visual) scene cues/guides (visual) attention to...
11 septembre 2013	

Robert A.P. REUTER	

Mesures directes et indirectes	

de l’apprentissage lors de recherches visuelles
...
11 septembre 2013	

Robert A.P. REUTER	

Mesures directes et indirectes	

de l’apprentissage lors de recherches visuelles
...
11 septembre 2013	

Robert A.P. REUTER	

Mesures directes et indirectes	

de l’apprentissage lors de recherches visuelles
...
11 septembre 2013	

Robert A.P. REUTER	

Mesures directes et indirectes	

de l’apprentissage lors de recherches visuelles
...
11 septembre 2013	

Robert A.P. REUTER	

Mesures directes et indirectes	

de l’apprentissage lors de recherches visuelles
...
11 septembre 2013	

Robert A.P. REUTER	

Mesures directes et indirectes	

de l’apprentissage lors de recherches visuelles
...
11 septembre 2013	

Robert A.P. REUTER	

Mesures directes et indirectes	

de l’apprentissage lors de recherches visuelles
...
11 septembre 2013	

Robert A.P. REUTER	

Mesures directes et indirectes	

de l’apprentissage lors de recherches visuelles
...
11 septembre 2013	

Robert A.P. REUTER	

Mesures directes et indirectes	

de l’apprentissage lors de recherches visuelles
...
11 septembre 2013	

Robert A.P. REUTER	

Mesures directes et indirectes	

de l’apprentissage lors de recherches visuelles
...
Explaining IL
24
Explaining IL
Initially thought to be unconscious rule abstraction, very
much like conscious learning, just without consci...
Explaining IL
but there are other possible explanations…
26
Explaining IL
27
Explaining IL
28
Explaining IL
Today rather seen as an acquired sensitivity to
statistical regularities. 	

Cleeremans et al. (1998):“[B]es...
But the debate is	

far from closed!
30
Implicit vs. Explicit
31
Implicit &/vs. Explicit Learning
32
(Sun et al., 2007)
Age dependence! ! ! Low! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! High!
Interpersonal Va...
Age dependence! ! ! Low! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! High!
Interpersonal Variability! Low! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! High!
IQ dependence...
Implicit &/vs. Explicit Learning
34
(Sun et al., 2007)
Age dependence! ! ! Low! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! High!
Interpersonal Va...
Implicit &/vs. Explicit Learning
35
• IL research has strongly focused on trying to dissociate
the two forms of learning	
...
Relevance for
Schools?
36
Relevance for Schools?
• “Learning” is not just restrained to what happens in
schools	

• IL research show that we are nat...
Relevance for Schools?
• Since IL is relatively specific and does not flexibly
transfer to new stimuli, helping students to ...
Better understand
learning processes
39
Better understanding
• IL has rather weak effects, at least at the beginning	

• IL is difficult to control “from the outsi...
Better understanding
• IL does not produce the same type of knowledge that
EL does	

• IL and EL can lead to “conflicting” ...
Better understanding
• If you want to detect IL you need to design adapted
assessments	

• Rule-like behavior does not nec...
Design better	

learning situations
43
Better design
• Sun et al. (2007): “Most educational settings focus on
teaching conceptual (explicit) knowledge rather tha...
Better design
• IL-based teaching scenarios will never replace or
eliminate the need for EL-based ones, but they can
compl...
Better design
• IL may be advantageous for learners less “keen” on
top-down conceptual instruction	

• Enable “flow” by pro...
Better design
• We can allow for variations around a prototype, kids’
brains can handle this! (Example: written letters)	
...
Future directions
48
Future directions
• Invitation to design IL-informed learning scenarios that
can be tested in controlled laboratory settin...
Thank you
for your
attention
50
What can schools, teachers and learners learn from implicit learning research?
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What can schools, teachers and learners learn from implicit learning research?

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What can schools, teachers and learners learn from implicit learning research? Oral presentation at Fourth scientific symposium of the Association for Research in Neuroeducation, Université de Caen, Caen, Basse-Normandie, France - 27th mai 2014

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What can schools, teachers and learners learn from implicit learning research?

  1. 1. Fourth scientific symposium of the Association for Research in Neuroeducation, Université de Caen! Caen, Basse-Normandie, France - 27th mai 2014 ! Robert A.P. REUTER! Institute for Applied Educational Sciences! Research Unit on Education, Culture, Cognition and Society What can schools, teachers and learners learn from implicit learning research?
  2. 2. my background Université libre de Bruxelles: Cognitive Psychology Université du Luxembourg: (Applied) Educational Sciences - Educational Technology
  3. 3. this talk some “old” facts and a lot of tentative speculations
  4. 4. “I’ve heard you’re doing research on implicit learning… so you can teach me how to prepare for my next exam, without me having to study really hard?”
  5. 5. Guiding Questions • What is “implicit learning” (IL)? • What do we know about IL? • What are the differences and similarities between IL and explicit learning (EL)? • In how far could IL be relevant for “school-based learning”? • What can we learn from IL research to better understand “school-based learning”? • What could IL-informed teaching scenarios look like? 6
  6. 6. Defining IL Term first coined by Reber (1967):“The process by which knowledge about the rule-governed complexities of the stimulus environment are acquired independently of conscious attempts to do so.” In other words, a situation where knowledge of co-variations in the environment is acquired without explicit intention of learning, without awareness of the learning process and without knowledge of what has been learned Vaguely synonymous with incidental learning and unconscious learning 7
  7. 7. Does that really exist?
  8. 8. Evidence for IL • Artificial grammar learning (Reber, 1967) • Sequence learning (Nissen & Bullemer, 1987) • Dynamic system control (Berry and Broadbent, 1984) • Contextual cueing (Chun & Jiang, 1998) • Stereotypes and interpersonal biases (Greenwald & Banaji,1995) • Language learning (Pacton, Perruchet, Fayol & Cleeremans, 2001): Implicit Learning out of the lab:The Case of Orthographic Regularities 9
  9. 9. Evidence for IL • Artificial grammar learning (Reber, 1967) • asked to memorize a set of letter strings generated by a finite- state grammar • AFTERWARDS, told that the strings follow the rules of a grammar • asked to classify new strings as grammatical or not • classification task better than chance, despite unable to describe the rules of the grammar in verbal reports. • thus we observe a dissociation between classification performance and verbal report 10
  10. 10. Evidence for IL • Sequence learning deterministic sequence 11 (Cleeremans et al., 1998) PRACTICE! Sequence 2! Sequence 1! REACTION TIME!
  11. 11. • Sequence learning
 probabilistic sequence Evidence for IL 12 (Cleeremans et al., 1998) PRACTICE! Ungrammatical stimuli! Grammatical stimuli! REACTION TIME!
  12. 12. Evidence for IL • Contextual cueing: a certain information contained in a (visual) scene cues/guides (visual) attention towards a “meaningful” part of the (visual) scene • Interesting interaction between IL and (visual) consciousness:“IL tells our attention what to become aware of, by using information that we (mostly) remain unaware of.” 13
  13. 13. 11 septembre 2013 Robert A.P. REUTER Mesures directes et indirectes de l’apprentissage lors de recherches visuelles Expérience standard • Tâche:“Nous faisons une étude sur l’attention visuelle”
 Chercher une cible parmi des distracteurs et indiquer au plus vite son orientation (à l’aide d’une de deux clés) • Le contexte est défini par la configuration globale des distracteurs. • Les distracteurs sont assez similaires à la cible 
 (tâche de recherche serielle) • Nombre equivalent d’essais “gauche” et “droite” 14
  14. 14. 11 septembre 2013 Robert A.P. REUTER Mesures directes et indirectes de l’apprentissage lors de recherches visuelles • A l'insu des participants on présente des
 essais prédictifs et des essais aléatoires • 24 emplacements pour la cible • 12 emplacements avec contextes aléatoires • 12 emplacements avec contextes répétés • 30 blocks de 24 essais chacun • Les temps de réaction sont enregistrés Expérience standard 15
  15. 15. 11 septembre 2013 Robert A.P. REUTER Mesures directes et indirectes de l’apprentissage lors de recherches visuelles Démonstration Tâche:Trouver le T et indiquer son orientation Réponse:“gauche” => appuyer sur la clé pour gauche Contexte: configuration globale des distracteurs G D + 16
  16. 16. 11 septembre 2013 Robert A.P. REUTER Mesures directes et indirectes de l’apprentissage lors de recherches visuelles Contextes aléatoires G D + 17
  17. 17. 11 septembre 2013 Robert A.P. REUTER Mesures directes et indirectes de l’apprentissage lors de recherches visuelles Contextes aléatoires + G D 18
  18. 18. 11 septembre 2013 Robert A.P. REUTER Mesures directes et indirectes de l’apprentissage lors de recherches visuelles et ainsi de suite... 19
  19. 19. 11 septembre 2013 Robert A.P. REUTER Mesures directes et indirectes de l’apprentissage lors de recherches visuelles quelques essais plus tard... G D + Tâche:Trouver le T et indiquer son orientation Réponse:“droite” => appuyer sur la clé pour droite20
  20. 20. 11 septembre 2013 Robert A.P. REUTER Mesures directes et indirectes de l’apprentissage lors de recherches visuelles Contextes répétés Temps 21
  21. 21. 11 septembre 2013 Robert A.P. REUTER Mesures directes et indirectes de l’apprentissage lors de recherches visuelles Effets d’apprentissage (1) En générale, les sujets répondent de plus en plus vite 800 900 1.000 1.100 1.200 1.300 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 TR(msec) Blocks 22
  22. 22. 11 septembre 2013 Robert A.P. REUTER Mesures directes et indirectes de l’apprentissage lors de recherches visuelles Mais surtout, les TR pour les contextes prédictifs diminuent encore plus que pour les contextes aléatoires 800 900 1.000 1.100 1.200 1.300 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 Répétés Aléatoire Effets d’apprentissage (2) Blocks Effet: 70 ms TR(msec) 23
  23. 23. Explaining IL 24
  24. 24. Explaining IL Initially thought to be unconscious rule abstraction, very much like conscious learning, just without consciousness 25
  25. 25. Explaining IL but there are other possible explanations… 26
  26. 26. Explaining IL 27
  27. 27. Explaining IL 28
  28. 28. Explaining IL Today rather seen as an acquired sensitivity to statistical regularities. Cleeremans et al. (1998):“[B]est described as lying somewhere on a continuum between purely exemplar- based representations and more general, abstract representations – a characteristic that neural-network models are particularly apt at capturing.” 29
  29. 29. But the debate is far from closed! 30
  30. 30. Implicit vs. Explicit 31
  31. 31. Implicit &/vs. Explicit Learning 32 (Sun et al., 2007) Age dependence! ! ! Low! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! High! Interpersonal Variability! Low! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! High! IQ dependence!! ! ! Low! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! High (Reber, 1996)
  32. 32. Age dependence! ! ! Low! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! High! Interpersonal Variability! Low! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! High! IQ dependence!! ! ! Low! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! High (Reber, 1996) Implicit &/vs. Explicit Learning 33 (Sun et al., 2007)
  33. 33. Implicit &/vs. Explicit Learning 34 (Sun et al., 2007) Age dependence! ! ! Low! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! High! Interpersonal Variability! Low! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! High! IQ dependence!! ! ! Low! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! High (Reber, 1996)
  34. 34. Implicit &/vs. Explicit Learning 35 • IL research has strongly focused on trying to dissociate the two forms of learning • Interactions between the two forms of learning are rarely considered nor studied • But, very likely to co-contribute to our everyday learning processes • There are no process-pure measures of learning, the black-or-white dichotomy is unrealistic
  35. 35. Relevance for Schools? 36
  36. 36. Relevance for Schools? • “Learning” is not just restrained to what happens in schools • IL research show that we are natural-born learners! • IL likely a phylogenetically older form of learning • IL seems to be the default mode of learning,“what the brain does all the time”(=> neuroplasticity) • IL is very likely to happen “all the time”, thus also in school contexts, but may go unnoticed by teachers and learners 37
  37. 37. Relevance for Schools? • Since IL is relatively specific and does not flexibly transfer to new stimuli, helping students to become aware of important rules is still necessary • Learners may learn certain things implicitly that we do not want them to learn • My claim:We can only gain from better understanding the effects of IL processes on school-based learning processes 38
  38. 38. Better understand learning processes 39
  39. 39. Better understanding • IL has rather weak effects, at least at the beginning • IL is difficult to control “from the outside” • IL takes time! Do not expect “miracles”! • Mastery requires cognitive efforts! 40
  40. 40. Better understanding • IL does not produce the same type of knowledge that EL does • IL and EL can lead to “conflicting” knowledge • IL is particularly active when the content domain contains task-relevant “hidden” complex structural information • EL is particularly useful when it comes to memorizing “simple” rules 41
  41. 41. Better understanding • If you want to detect IL you need to design adapted assessments • Rule-like behavior does not necessarily mean rule- based cognition • Better understand certain errors 42
  42. 42. Design better learning situations 43
  43. 43. Better design • Sun et al. (2007): “Most educational settings focus on teaching conceptual (explicit) knowledge rather than setting up an opportunity for gaining substantial experiential (mostly implicit) knowledge.While this may be appropriate for some subject areas, other subjects areas may require learning information (e.g., features of complex systems or categories) that are better learned (at least initially) through extensive hands-on experience than with lectures or textbooks alone (that is, with explicit learning alone).” 44
  44. 44. Better design • IL-based teaching scenarios will never replace or eliminate the need for EL-based ones, but they can complement them • If we allow for IL processes to build up sensitivities to statistical regularities contained in a knowledge domain, we allow learners to become “naturally fluent” before helping them to establish conceptual, symbolic and explicit knowledge 45
  45. 45. Better design • IL may be advantageous for learners less “keen” on top-down conceptual instruction • Enable “flow” by proposing easy and incidental learning situations 46
  46. 46. Better design • We can allow for variations around a prototype, kids’ brains can handle this! (Example: written letters) • We need to carefully think about the learning materials we use and the statistical regularities they contain • Many video games seem to implement such incidental learning situations, cf.“discovery learning” 47
  47. 47. Future directions 48
  48. 48. Future directions • Invitation to design IL-informed learning scenarios that can be tested in controlled laboratory settings first and than “in the wild” • Design-Based Research Approach (Brown, 1992) seems promising for NeuroEducation 49
  49. 49. Thank you for your attention 50

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